The law firm was celebrating with Appio – 05/24/2023 – Conrado Hübner Mendes
Fasten your seat belts, the rule is gone. Also decorum, discretion, impersonality. I am not referring to the negotiation tables of party politics, where personality is assumed, legitimate and presupposed. When it occurs in the offices of Justice, the law becomes the veneer of a facade in a building without scaffolding. There, politics as it is. Here, legal practice as it cannot be. Or politics in the wrong place.
In the regime of cordial legality, operated by cordial men with hearts open to promiscuity, the idea of institution is diluted in personalism. Impartiality becomes favoritism. An anti-institutional lubrication. What remains is the baccalaureate chatter that tries to manufacture legality and hide conflict of interests and power struggles.
This week we learned that André Mendonça attended a private dinner in honor of him in advance. A premature compliment to what he still hasn’t done in the STF, but the lawyers would like him to do. Advance tributes are promissory agreements. They aim for future behavior, not past accomplishments. Dinners are organized, commendations are given, books are published.
We also came to know the group of “thinkers of justice” on WhatsApp. Some imagined John Rawls and Karl Marx, Lélia Gonzalez and Milton Santos, Von Mises and Hayek. But it was a republican meeting place where Augusto Aras, Sergio Moro, politicians and lawyers exchange ideas and barbs. Efficient place to smooth out extremes in a magistocratic cocktail.
We also had the news that federal judge Eduardo Appio was removed, by precautionary measure, from the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba by the TRF-4. He is suspected of having called and intimidated the son of a federal judge, a partner lawyer in the Moro couple’s office. The decision would have made Appio “shoot messages” to high government authorities and “also call on Lula’s allies in the legal area”, in search of support.
The preliminary decision had great repercussions and awaits the production of evidence. But Appio’s flamboyant behavior since he took office has not received much attention. He granted interviews, praised the mastery of the STF, reiterated generic criticisms of Lava Jato that he is not responsible for.
In the short period, he also made extravagant decisions. He annulled the lawsuit against Sérgio Cabral, based on Moro’s suspicion, despite there being no conversation in Vaza Jato involving Cabral, and he rebelled against the contrary decision of the TRF, which is superior to him.
He summoned, ex officio, Tacla Duran to testify on a topic that was the object of a previously archived investigation. He marked the testimony of Palocci, who years later decided to allege torture.
Faced with criticism, the law firm hurried to publish a note in its defense. He accused part of the legal community of allowing the “snake’s egg to be hatched”, celebrated “finally a judge committed to the Constitution”, who would already be “a victim of lawfare”, and affirmed “never again collusion” between judge and district Attorney.
The deinstitutionalization of the country has repercussions in the courts. A strident alarm has been raised to “decriminalize politics”, but there is no attempt to relegalize Justice. The grotesque articulation between judge and prosecutor, symbolized by the Moro-Dallagnol table, was criticized. But they don’t seem to see a problem with day and night courtships between judge and lawyer.
None of this is appropriate. It is not up to the judge to set fire to politics, inflate polarization and receive praise for it. Nor “trigger” your contacts. The country will not rebuild itself with a PT Aras in the PGR, a PT Kassio in the STF, a friend of the PT in the Curitiba branch. Need independent agents.
It can be said that the practice has always existed, but perhaps there is a difference: awareness of what is the measure of appropriateness, correctness, pertinence of the behavior of legal actors (the so-called “judicial propriety” in English) has been lost. Legal careers have normalized ethical wrongdoing, which is fine for some legal practitioners, not the rule of law.
The progressive advocacy for self-declaration (the Appa) was in celebration with Aras. He celebrated his nomination, courted his performance, fought for his reappointment. When Aras’ collaboration with Bolsonarist violence was wide open, and their friendship became inconvenient, silence came. Appa was also partying with Appio.
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